When I first decided to get sober, I had a pretty big hang-up about it. I was afraid life would be boring in recovery. Pretty much everything I did centered around drugs or alcohol. If I was going to be socializing with others or going out on the weekends, alcohol would be involved. If I was going to stay in and relax, I definitely needed to smoke weed to enjoy myself. I had a substance for every situation, and I couldn’t imagine enjoying my life without them.
Eventually, I got to the point where it seemed like I couldn’t live without substances, but if I kept doing them, I was going to die. It was a tough choice—either die or have a boring life. Teenage me would have probably chosen death, but luckily, I was a little bit older and wiser than that at this stage. Since I wanted to live, I took the plunge. I went to treatment and got sober and decided to figure out the rest as I went along.
And yes, to be honest, I was bored at first. I had no idea what to do with myself. All my old friends were still out there drinking and using constantly. It was all they knew. At the time, it was all I knew as well. It seemed like I had a choice—either go back to using until the bitter end or figure out some kind of way to enjoy my life. So, I took another chance.
It took me some time, but I started to figure it out. First, I realized that when I put effort into going to meetings and being part of a recovery community, I made friends who were also in recovery and wanted to have fun. So that was that—the friend problem was solved. My old using buddies fell by the wayside. I didn’t need to cut them out of my life, I simply found something better to do.
Then I started to explore different activities. I realized I enjoyed reading literature, and I didn’t need any substances to do it (except maybe a cup of coffee once in a while). At the time, I also decided to go back to school. I learned a new skill and got a job doing it—and for the first time, I had a job I didn’t hate. I was having fun at work, so I was way ahead of the misery of working while using. I realized that I could go see live music without any drugs and still have a great time. I got in shape—I realized that running and cycling are actually pretty fun, and something I wanted to do willingly—no New Year’s resolutions or insecurities about my weight needed to motivate me.
In short, once I put some effort in, I realized that there were countless things around me that were both interesting and fun. Trying something new always takes work and scares me a little bit, but I’ve never regretted it (except for trying drugs. I regret that a bit. But I digress). I think it’s safe to say that I have much more fun now than I ever did in active addiction, when half my time was spent completely miserable. Funny how perspective changes like that.